Saturday, December 31, 2016

At Long Last: The 10 Greatest Hit Songs of 2016

Happy New Beer everyone. It's time to party to the steamiest, most inescapable records of the year.

There were so many fuckin' hot jams this year that it was just fuckin' very tough to choose, but alas, there can be only 10 in the top 10 and these are those 10. Some dick from fuckin' The Wall Street Journal posted some bullshit top 10 yesterday. Yeah, we saw that, and it was buncha fuckin bullshit. Don't believe his lies.

Hot party jams like these ones don't come around every year. Keep em pumpin' all night. The hits never stop.

#10 Sextina Aquafina "Get Dat Fetus, Kill Dat Fetus"

#9 Member Berries "Africa (Toto cover)"

#8 Dead Cold Inside "Not Really Living"

#7 Flame Princess featuring NEPTR "Spittin' Straight Flame"

#6 Bill Clinton & Bill Cosby "Gentleman's Club Theme"

#5 Your Space "Your Space"

#4 David Alan Thicke "The David Alan Thicke Song"

#3 Gary Young "Spit"

#2 311 featuring T-Pain "Down"

#1 Beetlejuice "Money Money Pussy"

Friday, December 30, 2016

Ten Nice Unearthed Relics from 2016 Reissues

Youtube, we need you to rap:

[BONUS] The most disappointing unearthed relic from 2016 was probably Big Star's cover of T.Rex's "Baby Strange" which appeared on Big Star: Complete Third. When the tracklisting was announced with "Baby Strange," we had reasonably high expectations. Now we know better. The first 45 seconds of the track are silent and the rest doesn't sound as if they cared. IMO a lot of Complete Third shouldn't have been included on there, and this is a good example.

10. Odion Iruoje "Anogo / Giri"

Originally from 1983's Down To Earth LP.

9. The Trio (Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris & Linda Rondstadt) "Are You Tired Of Me?"

From The Complete Trio Collection.

8. Pink Floyd "Green Is The Colour" & "Careful with That Axe, Eugene" (Live BBC Radio Session, 12 May 1969)

From The Early Years 1965 - 1972.
"Green Is The Colour" only:

7. The Rift Valley Brothers "Mucang'ang'o Ugiraga Mukindirio"

From Kenya Special, Vol. 2

6. Chris Weisman "The Hamburger Goal"

Originally from 2007's Trash Picture. Re-released on Trash Picture / August Demos.

5. Yoko Ono "Open Your Box"

Previously only available as a 7-inch edit on the b-side of Plastic Ono Band's "Power To The People" from 1971. A different 3-minute edit also appeared as "Hirake" on Fly, also from 1971. The 2016 re-release of Yoko Ono / Plastic Ono Band includes "Open Your Box" in its entirety.

4. Tad "Nuts N' Bolts"

From 8-Way Santa (Deluxe Edition).

3. Once "Joanna" / Joe Tossini and Friends "Wild Dream" / Some Of My Best Friends Are Canadian "Feeling Sheepish"

From 2013's Sky Girl comp, re-released by Efficient Space in 2016.
"Joanna" originally from 1981's The Hush:
"Wild Dream" originally from 1989's Lady Of Mine.
"Feeling Sheepish" originally the a-side from an out-of-print 1980 7-inch.

2. Queen "It's Late (BBC Session / October 28, 1977)"

From Queen On Air.

1. Heatmiser "Christian Brothers"

First surfaced on Soundcloud in 2013. From Heaven Adores You Soundtrack.

Top 10 Prince Songs Before and After 4/21/16

Top 10 Prince Songs
1/1/16 Thru 4/20/16

Here are the 10 highest placing Prince songs as they appeared in our "500 Hottest Jams" list originally posted on April 1, 2016:
1. "The Beautiful Ones"
2. "Purple Rain"
3. "God"
4. "Pop Life"
5. "I Would Die 4 U"
6. "Let's Go Crazy"
7. "Take Me With U"
8. "I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man"
9. "Diamonds and Pearls"
10. "Little Red Corvette"

Top 10 Prince Songs
4/21/16 thru 12/30/16

Here are the 10 Prince songs that we listened to the most in 2016 based on the stats listed on our Last.Fm account:
1. "If I Was Your Girlfriend"
2. "The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker"
3. "She's Always In My Hair"
4. "17 Days"
5. "Strange Relationship"
6. "Another Lonely Christmas"
7. "Sign 'O' The Times"
8. "Starfish and Coffee"
9. "God"
10. "Good Love" / "I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man" / "Play In The Sunshine" / "When You Were Mine" / "Anotherloverholenyohead"

Hottest Prince jam to not appear on either list:

Memba Vids 2016: The Big Big List Of Vids

I memba!

TOP 10:
#10: Gumball Machine featuring cupcakKe "Pu$$y Market"
#9: Radiohead "Burn The Witch"
#8: Aphex Twin "CIRKLON3 [ Колхозная mix ]"
#7: DJ Shadow featuring Run The Jewels "Nobody Speaks"
#6: Vince Staples "Prima Donna"
#5: (tie) Good Morning "Warned You" (2015)
#5: (tie) Cigarettes After Sex "Affection"

#4: Teen Suicide "Bright Blue Pickup Truck"
#3: David Bowie "Lazarus"
#2: Kanye West "Famous" (Unofficial Official Video)
#1: Ty Segall "Emotional Mugger"

Honorable Mentions:
(HM): Rae Sremmurd "Black Beatles"
(HM): Palm "I Don't Want To Know (VHS Sessions)"

Big Bad Bonus:
(Bonus): Angel Olsen “Shut Up Kiss Me”
(Bonus): Gucci Mane “First Day Out Tha Feds”
(Bonus): Rihanna “Needed Me”
(Bonus): Wolf Eyes “T.O.D.D.”

4 More For Fun:
Melkbelly “Elk Mountain”
Stove “Stupidest”
Sad13 “Just a Friend”
Surface to Air Missive “The New Look”

Memba Vids 2016 #1: Ty Segall “Emotional Mugger”

The director and Ty Segall premiered this video album by disclosing a huge influence from Terry Gilliam and David Cronenberg, so that got our attention right away. As moderate-at-best Ty Segall fans, it definitely surpassed our expectations and redefined the possibilities (albeit on a lower scale of popularity than something like Lemonade): All the music from Emotional Mugger that appears in this was remixed and altered to fit with the pacing of the story. And probably in the best interest of fitting within ADD/internet culture, it doesn't force viewers to listen through any full songs. They supply the basic jist of the album's atmosphere in a concise and thoroughly engaging package, detailing the experience of “walking dead” in Los Angeles, and possibly influencing Vince Staples who tried out a very similar theme for his 10-minute Prima Donna clip.

Memba Vids 2016 #2: Kanye West “Famous"

Fun Fact: No acting skills required for the entirely genuine reactions to authentic Italian cuisine and red wine. One can only say "magnifique" and "delizioso" so many times before it makes you wanna dry hump parked cars. Aziz & Eric’s “Famous” is so awesome that we actually got angry when Kanye posted his own gigantic-piece-of-shit “official” version 2 months later. Ultimately, they received a free pass, making this a rare instance of a Kanye-approved “unofficial” video. Maybe he’s not that crazy afterall.

Memba Vids 2016 #3: David Bowie "Lazarus"

Our entire top 3 is basically tied for #1. Within the past 24 hours, the 6 possibilities of their arrangement all made sense to us for one reason or another. We saw all three of them appear on other blogs "best video" picks, so we ultimately decided on the opposite order of how often they showed up.

One year ago when “Blackstar” appeared in Vid Kids 2015, we noted:

The “Blackstar” premiere actually lived up to its event-ness. In the parallel universe where MTV still shows videos and labels them with tags like "Breakthrough Video" and "Buzz Clip," this vid might have received a red carpet premiere not unlike GNR's "Estranged."

A year ago, it seemed unthinkable that MTV would pay any attention to past music legends. Due to the unfortunate circumstances, MTV surprisingly snuck “Lazarus” into their late-night video rotation (literally appearing between Drake and Weeknd videos). While it lost its 3 VMA noms to Beyonce (go figure), “Blackstar,” earned Bowie his final VMA win for Best Art Direction. We'd like to think his lifetime achievement would have earned him these same accolades even if he hadn’t passed away this year.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Memba Vids 2016 #4: Teen Suicide “Bright Blue Pickup Truck”

We notice some commonality flowing through the 4 videos for Teen Suicide’s 2016 double-LP. For starters, 3 of them resemble trailers for imaginary Sundance mumblecore.

“Bright Blue Pickup Truck” caught our attention first, and we’re surprised it didn’t appear in more “Best of 2016” lists, but then again we might just be suckers for this particular style: Coming-of-age elements, young womanhood, a desire to break away from the suburbs, wanting more out of life. It reminds us of the first film we ever saw at Sundance, Laurel Nakadate’s Stay The Same Never Change (which is still unreleased in any commercial form, although the trailer is still on Youtube, embedded below).

We’re also suckers for cigarette smoking in videos (even though we’re non-smokers, but it just looks so friggin’ cool). The only Teen Suicide video from 2016 with no smoking shows a dude getting pelted with a hundred empty Marlboro packs. We also love the religious imagery in “The Big Joyous Celebration” (embedded below) and the superfluously intense guitar almost-smash in “Alex.” The album is good too, but they deserve credit for what might have been the most solid run of music videos from any band this year.

Memba Vids 2016 #5: Good Morning “Warned You” / Cigarettes After Sex “Affection”

We found the Youtube account with these 2 videos about 1 year ago after locating the “Dating Game” Homeshake video (which placed at #8 in Vid Kids 2015). This dude Alejandro repurposes his collection of beautiful ‘60s and ‘70s films, re-cutting the money shots to fit into 2-5 minutes, placed alongside dreamy, modern indie rock. “Warned You” is our new favorite, but the video was first posted in 2015, and the infectious song easily could have placed Top 10 in our 2014 Hot Mix. (Boo-urns.) “Affection” is our favorite out of the handful from 2016.

Memba Vids 2016 #6: Vince Staples "Prima Donna"

Truly in its infancy, the “video album” concept supplied 2016 with a freshly untapped method of combining music, art and film while engaging listeners with several album tracks (or in the case of Prima Donna, an entire release worth of music) as opposed to a collection of singles. We know “video shoot within the video” is nothing new, but the first 30 seconds (“Big Time”) might be our favorite mini-video of 2016. We wish it were longer. As the story continues, a satanic cab driver sings the hook from “Smile,” a crowd of demon fans cheers him on for “War Ready,” and Vince ultimately lies in a pool of blood following a verse of “Loco.” We’re pretty sure the entire EP is represented at some point throughout its 10-minutes. It’s pretty goofy, but strangely infectious.

Memba Vids 2016 #7: DJ Shadow featuring Run The Jewels “Nobody Speaks”

The future of C-SPAN.

Memba Vids 2016 #8: Aphex Twin "CIRKLON3 [ Колхозная mix ]"

Finally. A return to the good ol’ days when Aphex Twin and Radiohead can place alongside each other in a “best videos of the year” list. It’s truly been way too long. MVGA.

In “CIRKLON3,” the young tween-age director refreshingly doesn’t add or remove anything to the peculiar dream-like specificities set in place by AFX’s preexisting visual universe co-created by Chris Cunningham. Everything in this clip could easily have taken place in the same timeline as “Rubber Johnny,” “Windowlicker” or “Come To Daddy.” But what’s even more intriguing is that he accomplishes this with a budget that likely hovered around the low, low cost of $0.00.

Memba Vids 2016 #9: Radiohead “Burn The Witch”

This marks the long-awaited return of Radiohead kicking off album promo with some surprise “cartoony but actually fucked up” visuals. Coincidentally, it’s also their best lead video since “Paranoid Android” but with even more implied carnage. (Disclosure: We just like the word “carnage.” Is that ok with you?)

Memba Vids 2016 #10: Gumball Machine featuring cupcakKe “Pu$$y Market”

This made the Top 10 because it looks like they invented a pussy-flavored seltzer just for this video. Praise Jesus.

Memba Vids 2016 (HM): Palm “I Don’t Want To Know" (VHS Sessions)

Granted, the old-school analog tape aesthetic has grown somewhat tiresome since 2009’s chillwave boom, but the presentation of this Youtube series may have accidentally generated the best possible first-listen experience for this surprise non-album track. It’s probably intended for whatever Palm releases in 2017. (The same song, now called “Shadow Expert,” appeared in a much higher-fidelity form in their June Audiotree session.) So many bonus points for making the most out of limited space, with one guitar player in the tiny attic stairs, and shooting indoors with what appears to be all natural lighting.

Memba Vids 2016 (HM): Rae Sremmurd “Black Beatles”

Headbangers brawl. We wonder how many of these shots were stolen from classic ‘80s metal clips. Mötley Crüe played their final shows in 2016. The torch is passed to Sremm-Life.

Memba Vids 2016: Big Bad Bonus Vids

Memba Vids 2016 will now present to the internet our latest collection of bonus vids. These are still amazing vids that ended up on the chopping block separate from our hugely coveted Top 10.

Angel Olsen “Shut Up Kiss Me”
Driving around alone after midnight. Yea, we can relate. This was planned to appear in our "best vids" within weeks of its launch back in late-June. Unsurprisingly, it ended up on the "best video" lists of almost every big-money music blog. We're also unsurprised that "The label tried to fuck with her videos" became a clickbait headline on those exact same blogs, as if this were the first case in the history of music when a label tried to change an artist’s presentation in the interest of generating some quick hot cash.** Our favorite shots in this might be the underrated “slouching at the bar” sequence.

**In all fairness, record companies have actually been correct about this idea at a few points throughout history. The best example we can think of is Smashing Pumpkins. No one really paid attention to the "Cherub Rock" video, which premiered in July '93 a week or 2 prior to the release of Siamese Dream. Within a week of album release, their label immediately forced the band to shoot the "Today" video. By early September, "Today" became their true Buzz Clip breakthrough and the first Smashing Pumpkins song heard by millions. Thanks record label!

Gucci Mane “First Day Out Tha Feds”
This was the first time post-prison-Gucci presented himself to the world in HD video form, and we’re still in disbelief how his appearance changed between Spring Breakers (just 4 years ago) and today. Mom, look: There are 4 Guccis! With new teeth! He acknowledges his caps within the first 2 lines.

Rihanna “Needed Me”
Speaking of Spring Breakers, it’s refreshing to know Harmony Korine (who recently relocated from Nashville to Florida) is still flexing his slowmo promo skills. With such glorious cinematography, "Needed Me" had a very good shot to place Top 10, except for:
#1 Firm believers in "show, don't tell," we kinda hate the “gunshot” noises. Woulda been more effective if they were silent.
#2 The climax was kinda (dare we say) Anti-? The build to that ending is still pretty exciting though, as far as big-budget video moments are concerned.

Wolf Eyes “T.O.D.D.”
Another electrifyingly horrid Wolf Eyes jam soundtracks Charlie Rose interviewing some type of alien critter. Once upon a time, Charlie also briefly appeared in Wink’s "Simple Man" (from summer 1998, embedded below), so it’s great to see his return to weirdo vids like these.

Memba Vids 2016: The Vids Now Begin

Welcome to Member Vids 2016. Memba?

2016 presented a nice collection of vids. We rounded up some of our favorites and will present them to the people of the internet thusly.

Note: Much like in previous years, most of these songs do not appear anywhere on Lit Mix 2016. (We’re probably switching it to Lit Mix this year. Unless we change it to Suh Mix at the last minute.)

Here’s a couple quick stragglers before indulging the bonus:

Melkbelly “Elk Mountain”
We think there’s a linear story going on here - something involving a tyrannosaurus rex stealing someone’s landline phone. We detect a Lynch-ian blurring between dreamland and reality.

Stove “Stupidest”
Directed by the great Nnamdi Ogbonnaya. The crazy ass cat’s out of the bag again. Sure, the vegetable cart has it under control now, but how much longer before the cart turns its chopping skills back onto you?

Sad13 “Just a Friend”
Directed by (probably) Sadie Dupuis & Darl Ferm. Is that a Yard King? A quality barrow, right there. Sad13 had other full-length videos for Slugger, but the “Just A Friend” preview is still our favorite because of its subliminal ASMR shot - surprisingly underutilized within pop video world. Maybe this will become a thing in 2017.

Surface to Air Missive “The New Look”
“The New Look” does not appear on any S.A.M. album, mysteriously appearing on Youtube in late-July, smack between the promo cycles for their 2nd and 3rd albums. We like that Taylor maintains his tough stylishness even at the library and the drug store. Do not mess with this guy.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Some Thoughts on [adult swim] and Million Dollar Extreme

On December 30th, 1993 in Inglewood, California, Kurt Cobain was approached backstage by a drunken Eddie Van Halen who reportedly begged on his knees to join Nirvana on stage at some point during their set to solo over one of their songs. A disgusted Cobain - then leader of possibly the world's 2nd-most-famous active new rock band (after Pearl Jam) - famously declined the offer citing an extreme distaste of Van Halen's association with the flashy, misogynist, un-punk, big business era of '80s hair metal.

For better or worse, the state of rock in 2016 has grown far removed from the time when a band resembling anything like Nirvana or Van Halen could approach mainstream ubiquity, creating a scenario when rock musicians have grown substantially more desperate to be heard.

But let's discuss the '90s for a minute.

Throughout 1993 and its accompanying decade, MTV developed a niche that catered to young people who were interested in strangeness and art. While it only made up a small fraction of its programming schedule, the '90s were the decade when subversive and bizarre programming became oddly commonplace - shows like Liquid Television, Cartoon Sushi, Beavis & Butthead, Tom Green, Sifl & Olly, Oddville and The State, alongside video blocks like AMP that focused on arty EDM videos from the likes of Aphex Twin.

It's not like flashy Aerosmith and Guns N' Roses videos disappeared - quite the opposite, as they remained as overplayed as ever throughout the era of In Utero's (sadly shortened) promotion cycle. But in retrospect, MTV's politically neutral efforts to present mainstream alongside alternative - a hub for all areas of youth culture - seem very far removed from anything on television today. There is no "all things music" or "all things youth culture" hub on cable, and it will probably never exist again in quite the same way throughout the eternity of broadcasting.

Around Y2K-era, MTV programming slowly steered far away from strangeness. In the mid-2000s, MTV2 gave us a handful of awesomely absurd shows like Wonder Showzen and The Human Giant, but this only made up a small fraction of their programming. Viacom effectively peeled off its layer of subversiveness and hid it late at night in the middle of Cartoon Network's [adult swim] block. In due time, the weirdo contingent of youth culture discovered [adult swim] and its audience broadened through word-of-mouth, allowing the programming block to eventually blossom into a fully-formed channel of its own.

Since the early 2000s, [adult swim] has opted for the weirdo shows that MTV would have played 20 years ago. And while their earlier evening programming currently still sticks to mindless Seth MacFarlane re-runs, [as]'s after-midnight shows have remained the most refreshingly bizarre programming block of the past decade.

Generally speaking, their shows maintain a streak of political neutrality. Here's an incomplete list of perhaps their most popular exceptions:

- King Of The Hill's social commentary is mostly neutral, but from the perspective of a not-so-outspoken libertarian. (That would be Mike Judge, filtered through the lens of Hank Hill.)
- The Eric Andre Show, a talk show hosted by a self-proclaimed feminist, has remained proudly left-leaning since its inception.
- Tim & Eric's show started out as neutral, but little by little allowed hints of left-leaning gags to seep into their jokes. This eventually led to the production of Decker, Tim Heidecker's summer 2016 miniseries where he plays a government-agent hybrid of Donald Trump and MacGyver. Contained within a universe adjacent to Tim and Neil Hamburger's online-only movie review series, Decker would have been the most politically-charged satire in [adult swim]'s history.

Had it not been for Decker, it's possible that [adult swim] wouldn't have made any effort to ground themselves politically by actively searching for a right-leaning comedy series. But that's what ended up happening.

It was only natural that their choices for a right-wing comedy series produced by millennials might have been rooted within the often irreverent and deceptively hateful humor of 4chan. Consequently, a sketch show from the alt-right comedy group Million Dollar Extreme was green-lit. At the time this decision was approved, we were still in Obama's America, and while hateful anonymous online trolling was as rampant and obnoxious as it's ever been, the alt-right weren't yet widely known for associating with white supremacy and white nationalism.

Without any real knowledge of MDE's political or social agenda, [adult swim] and their average millennial viewer - now completely accustomed to the mindfucks within [as]'s occasional rotation (not to mention within the world of meme-culture) - had a very good shot of perceiving their sketch series with an open mind, naively assuming their bizarre sense of humor was rooted more within the provocative nihilism of Rick & Morty, or apolitically uncovering areas of hypocrisy, like South Park or Howard Stern.

Earlier, we neglected to mention one glaring aspect that [adult swim] carried over from '90s MTV: They both loved helping indie musicians get on late-night cable. Once upon a time, Space Ghost boasted band appearances ranging from Pavement to Bjork. These days, Eric Andre's show can claim perhaps the first cable performances of Trash Talk, HEALTH and Mac Demarco. The channel's "Summer Singles" series - showcasing unreleased music from (mostly) indie musicians - was recently expanded beyond summer, leaking weekly new songs throughout the calendar.

Aligning within this spirit, MDE are also huge indie-music fans and chose a few bands to appear on their show. Some of their music choices were obscure enough that we're only able to recognize the two bands who we've personally met: Ovlov and Chastity Belt.

We don't want to speak on behalf of either band. We haven't spoken to either of them since MDE's cancellation, so we only know that they were recently prompted to post about this situation on Facebook, and that both bands (along with 2 or 3 others) wrote several paragraphs detailing their opinions and expressing a desire to distance themselves from MDE's sneakily inherent hatefulness.

And it's entirely probable that either band would get upset or downright angry with us if they read that we unearthed this discussion 2 or 3 weeks after the fact. (Most of this was written weeks ago, and we're just finishing it now.) And so we won't be spreading this editorial on our own. It's not here for the sake of spreading knowledge or for self-righteousness. We just felt compelled to write about it. It's one perspective from a source that had way more to say about this particular topic than the words that would fit in the space Twitter and Facebook alloted for us. We know this is tl;dr. There's plenty of good reasons for that.


On a Friday evening in July 2016, we unexpectedly caught ourselves watching the midnight premiere of Eric Andre Season 4 live on [adult swim]. Who watches [as] live anymore? I guess we did, because we had no car all summer and our friends had no interest in driving to our house on this night.

Once the episode ended around 12:11AM, our jaws dropped upon unexpectedly seeing our good friends Ovlov rocking super hard in a commercial for the show they had told us about months prior. We were totally caught off guard but were so proud in that moment.

The commercial reminded us of their recent adventure: In Spring 2016, they unexpectedly broke from an extended band hiatus and drove from Connecticut to Georgia after being asked to play the song "Really Bees" in a sketch. Not long after the show taping, Ovlov considered themselves reunited throughout the remainder of 2016, citing the [adult swim] opportunity as the sole reason for their reformation.

I don't think I'm even sort of exaggerating when I say that any band who is at the level of Chastity Belt or Ovlov should rightfully get excited at the idea of appearing on a new Friday night [adult swim] series - essentially the modern cable TV equivalent of having your band's video debut on 120 Minutes in 1996. For an indie band, it represents the hope of future opportunity and one step closer towards possibly making your band into a long-term career. And considering that nothing else on [adult swim] had ever reached nearly as far into neo-con territory, the requests all seemed relatively innocent.

When the bands were asked for track-syncs or a performance, MDE sent a vague, confusing show description. To the show staff, this may have been a way to describe their humor without having to directly address their social and political agenda.

From Chastity Belt's Facebook post:

"Before signing on to perform for the episode, all we knew about the show was how the Deadline announcement described it, as “satirizing the current political climate…. [it] will “unlock your closeted bigoted imagination, toss your inherent racism into the burning trash and cleanse your intolerant spirit with pure unapologetic American funny_com.”

And in a way, this is actually the perfect description for what we saw. It's a vague and confusing type of show with profuse indirect hatefulness. Instead of coming right out and blatantly vomiting hate speech, they sucker people into not realizing what they're watching.

Since it conveniently appeared after Eric Andre, and thanks to our excitement for our friends' eventual appearance on the show, we wound up viewing almost the entire series.

We'll give credit where it's due: The pilot episode was actually thoroughly hilarious. We don't remember which sketches appeared, but it included a lot of warped, shock-based humor. We expected Ovlov to appear at the end of the pilot (since the preceding commercial included their likeness), but instead the episode concluded with the goth-influenced and staunchly feminist 4-piece Chastity Belt playing their droney, catchy song with the repeated refrain "he was just another man / try'na teach me somethin'." (We had to look this one up. The song is actually called "Drone!")

Chastity Belt's inclusion within the pilot's final 20 seconds initially seemed like a PC Liberal exclamation point. From our viewpoint, it made the show seem confusing, but confusing in a politically balanced way.

However, thinking about it now, it wouldn't surprise us to learn that Chastity Belt's song was chosen ironically. The lyrics challenge patriarchal bullshit in a way that angers the show creators. We could be wrong though. It's also entirely possible that MDE genuinely love that song and support its message but are unable to fully disclose these thoughts out of fear of losing their core audience of 4chan users. So MDE prefers to remain warped and cryptic. Granted, the manliness quotient makes more sense to us.

This is all in hindsight though. As far as we knew, MDE maintained the nihilistic approach. Any obvious red flags didn't register on our radar. We knew our friends were involved, and we wanted the show to succeed for that reason. Plus, we are suckers who often assume that funny, creative people are inherently good.

The show continued over the next few weeks, but no other episodes were as funny as the pilot. A decent amount of the sketches weren't ideologically terrible, and a few of them were pretty funny. But one out of every 3 or 4 skits would include something horribly misogynist or racist. A few sketches included black face with no context suggesting anything other than racist intentions. Others depicted the physical assault of women.

Within the following months, another good friend of ours ended up becoming a fan of MDE's online videos, unbeknownst to their alt-right agenda. In one video, they walked around York Square nearby the campus of Yale University holding "All Lives Matter" picket signs that were allegedly found in a nearby dumpster. They walked around the block provoking anyone who took them seriously, and later carried the signs into retail stores that resembled American Apparel or Urban Outfitters uncomfortably confronting black store employees.

It can sometimes be hard to judge when comedy crosses the line past an attempt at humor into the "horribly offensive" zone. We would be hypocrites calling out MDE while remaining fans of other comedians or comedy groups whose topics or tropes aligned. But there's a discernible difference. We all know trolling when we see it. The difference lies in the intentions.

The line itself was probably best demonstrated by Andy Kaufman. His nightclub act as Tony Clifton may have provided the world with its first notorious troll. By the time Tony became one of his most famous characters, fans already recognized Andy as decent human whose comedic cred was not earned by appealing to the baser instincts of hate groups. It was just one out of dozens of wide-ranging personas.

Within a specific context, uncomfortable situations can be effectively used as the topic of a joke. That's the whole point of offensive humor. The laughs we receive after an initial shock can help people understand more about a particular subject and about ourselves. Understandably, not everyone with an easily-offended PC-liberal bias will agree, especially those who aren't fans of a broad range of comedy.

But if a joke is purely rooted in hatred, then its writer is contributing to a problem. It's as simple as that. Discomfort for the sake of discomfort isn't a joke. Triggering for the sake of triggering is not a fucking joke. That's not comedy; that's bullying bullshit.

We aren't saying MDE should give up on their craft. They're obviously funny guys with very misguided intentions, and it was a bad idea for [adult swim] to give them a show. Many artists and performers would kill for that type of opportunity, and they used it for something disgusting and evil. But we think they should keep going. They should keep learning and creating. It's possible that in due time, they might grow up a little and figure out how to use their gift for something other than trolly bullshit.

Bear in mind that even after we saw these uncomfortable moments on MDE's show, they confused us more than anything else. Because of our friends' association, we didn't want the show to be hateful. We tried to convince ourselves otherwise. This continued until about October, when we saw an online article which included the first time we had ever seen the phrase "alt-right." And within that article, Million Dollar Extreme Presents World Peace was officially outed as [adult swim]'s alt-right sketch series. It took until a week or two later to understand that "alt-right" was far scarier than simply a millennial reaction to the neo-con movement.


Earlier in December, not long after the show's cancellation, a few headlines on music blogs decided to use the circumstances to their advantage. Unsurprisingly, Stereogum used some pretty irresponsible language in their headline: [Bands] Explain How Their Music Ended Up In White Supremacist's Adult Swim Show. It just goes to show how low music blogs are willing to go for post-election clickbait and ad revenue, trying to use these bands and the unfortunate circumstances to their advantage, not to mention that the show creators were never once labelled as white supremacists - only that their show's humor might appeal to those types of people. Hugely irresponsible. Seriously, FUCK Stereogum.

Pitchfork's sub-headline reads: "[Bands] explain their involvement with the sketch comedy accused of racism, sexism, and bigotry. See how much nicer that reads? Not a huge Pitchfork fan, but at least a handful of their writers can construct headlines properly.

A handful of the bands' Facebook messages said something to the affect of "We should have done our homework a little better." The reaction from the bands who appeared on the show all seem aligned as far as expressing a desire to distance themselves from hate. And of course, that's a responsible thing to say for any band who performs in DIY safe spaces (a.k.a. everyone involved). But if that's the case, really [adult swim] should be blamed for funding the show's creation and promotion.

Of course, it would have only taken a few seconds for any of these bands to Google "Are Million Dollar Extreme associated with the alt-right?" prior to making a show appearance. Except who the fuck would actually think to do that? And how many of these people had actually heard the phrase "alt-right" during Spring 2016? We're gonna guess not many.

It seems very weird that the risk of an extreme affiliation would have ever existed. If you're in a band, it could have been you. It could have been any of us. I doubt anyone could blame them for jumping at what seemed like a potentially awesome opportunity.

It shouldn't have to be any band's or artist's responsibility to research the political affiliation of a show when its channel is typically apolitical, neutral or left-leaning. It's not like they were being asked to perform on a show hosted by Trevor Noah or Tomi Lahren. The show was completely uncharacteristic of anything that had been on [adult swim] in the past. Don't make the bands feel guilty. The mess is in no way their fault. Blame Million Dollar Extreme and [adult swim].

Monday, December 26, 2016

RIP George Michael

Some thoughts about GM in chronological order:

1985: "Freedom" ultimately became my pre-solo Wham! jam. Make It Big was one of the first vinyl LPs that I made my parents buy for me from Caldor.

1986: My mom lost her shit over "I'm Your Man" and included it on at least 2 of her driving mixtapes. I somehow acquired "The Edge Of Heaven" 45. The aforementioned was basically my Wham! canon. I had no knowledge of "Last Christmas" until probably high school, and (incorrectly as I'd discover) no other Wham! singles registered on my radar as canon.

1987: God, what a year for blockbusters. Hysteria, Kick, Bad, Appetite. As far as immediate artistic cred is concerned, the only other late-'80s blockbuster besides Faith to claim an "Album Of The Year" Grammy was U2's The Joshua Tree, but only Faith managed all of this PLUS being named SPIN's 14th greatest album of all time in April 1989.

With all this mind mind, it's surprising his peak only lasted throughout the Faith cycle. But still, he was among the giants - enough that his poster made it through several seasons in the kids' bedroom on Full House.

1990: "Freedom '90" initially felt like he was officially a career artist. The "Unplugged" version of this song was arguably the best out of the 4 pre-taped live videos for the MTV10 special in August 1991.

In retrospect, as a casual George fan, "Freedom '90" feels more like his final huge artistic statement, although I know diehards will hugely disagree with this. But from this perspective, that doesn't necessarily feel like a bad thing.

1990 was fucking weird though. In a year with such huge event video premieres as "Vogue," "Janie's Got A Gun" and "Escapade," "Freedom '90" only made it to #41 on MTV's year-end countdown.

"Too Funky" was '92 and his inescapable Elton John collab dominated Top 40 stations in early '93. By this point, he was still only 29 years old.

Sadly, we didn't keep up as much after that.

There's a few old George Michael posts from the more exciting years of TMK, but pretty much everything we wrote about him is really embarrassing.

Here, we wrote about a similarity that we noticed between Kanye's production in Drake's "Find Your Love" and Wham's "Everything She Wants."

Here's when "Freedom '90" was named our #11 Guilty Pleasure song of the '90s.

And perhaps most embarrassingly, here's a review of the original "Freedom" where we mistake its ultra-sugariness for a proud declaration of gay sexuality:

Return Of The Mack

The past 6 months have almost completely depleted all of our mental and creative energy.

It's possible that the only way to truly jump back into this is to force ourselves. There's a lot we've wanted to say.

The hours following Christmas are typically when TMK posts return. Calling this "Return of the Mack" is really just setting ourselves up for even more blog neglect. But luckily, no one reads this anymore. Let's see what happens...

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Member Berries 2016

It begins. The last month of the first "worst year ever" of the 2010s. Everyone knows 2017 is going to be worse than 2016, right? There's still plenty of living legends who have to die at some point, and most of them are pretty fucking old.

We're possibly changing the name of "Hot Mix 2016" to "Member Berries 2016." We possibly have lost all of our blurb-writing energy, so there will probably be less content than usual. More info coming soon.

Memba 1968? I MEMBA!!
1968: MLK got shot and killed. RFK got shot and killed. And the United States voters chose Richard Milhouse Nixon to be their completely misguided, horrifying leader. And we fucking got through it.

In 1968 and during both of Reagan's presidential campaigns, TV and newspaper journalism was all the world had, blocking voters from hidden issues that came into light years later. In 2016, social media shed light on campaign issues all the same, but the only voters who saw those headlines on their news feeds already agreed. Issues still remained hidden due to artificially tailored news feeds, where a computer determines what we should and shouldn't see, which unfortunately does a horrendously awesome job of spotlighting fake journalism and unchecked online hoaxes.

Threats based on federal cabinet proposals don't always lead to the deterioration of our constitutional liberties. Just because it feels like the fabric of society is in danger doesn't mean we're all completely fucked. Obama is currently our president and has still not requested assisted for the pipeline protesters. It's not gonna get worse. Everything that's shitty is going to stay exactly the same because the president has no actual power as long as profiteering gets in the way. Sure, Trump said that flag burning should be illegal, but unfortunately for his dumbass, any law against proposing penalties for flag burning would be unconstitutional as fuck.

Why Rock Sucks In '16 (It's The Money)
Hey, here's an unpopular opinion that we simply couldn't bring ourselves to post on Twitter:

While there was an abundance of "very good" or even "really great" rock albums in 2016, almost none of them were exceptional or amazing. "Abundance" is a key word there, because an abundantly great year is preferable to ones like 2007/2008 when only 2 or 3 brilliant rock albums would somehow emerge from a relatively bleak musical landscape. The outlook for rock isn't necessarily bleak, but it's definitely been disappointing.

Imagine 1966 without Pet Sounds or Revolver or Blonde On Blonde. Or basically, imagine a great year for rock music where the entire top 20 best rock albums of that year didn't exist, and #21-30 are the new top 10. That's what 2016 felt like. We're saddened to report that none of our favorite rock bands (particularly dude-fronted rock) released their best albums in 2016. Nothing truly excited us. Our top 6 favorite bands from one year ago are exactly the same right now. And it's not like we weren't constantly digging.

What would help?

#1 Commercial radio needs a more refined "new rock" format so that modern rock bands might be encouraged to write less-plodding songs. There's a good reason why iHeartRadio hasn't yet made room for Car Seat Headrest and Parquet Courts.

#2 Music blogging in 2006 cared way more about supporting great bands as opposed to 2016 where good songs seem to matter way less. In order for ad revenue to flourish, weekly posts about Kanye, Drake and Beyonce are now pretty much mandatory.

Norm & Nick
We haven't broken our posts into headlines anytime recently. So here's our final headline: We've been enjoying Norm MAC-Donald's podcasts, and the Nick Swardson episode is possibly our new favorite. Enjoy:

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Obligatory Current Events Post

Happy Thanksgiving.

Back in the geocities days, we had a LOT more time and energy for things like journaling, masturbating and keeping very frequent TMK updates on topics such as the outcome of Bush vs. Kerry. In November 2004, social media was essentially centered around Livejournal and the away messages on AOL Instant Messenger. For anyone who cared to keep a blog, that was basically your personal profile. MySpace was just on the brink of ubiquity, but not just yet.

For us, 2004-2016 was entirely post college. A frame of time is built to feel less substantial as its percentage within our lifespan decreases. So if I'm 36, the last 12 years feels the same as 3.3 years as a 10 year old. It doesn't feel that long ago, but yea it was a fucking ages ago. 2004 simply couldn't happen now.

9/11 unified the United States. This is worse than 9/11.

In 2016, the extremes of the political spectrum are louder than they've ever been, and as a result, we've essentially planted the roots of a modern U.S. Civil War.

2016 is a constant stream. Everyone is already saying what we want to say elsewhere. There's not much we can add to the flow of dialog.

And this includes commentary ABOUT the commentary. But at the moment, commentary on commentary is really all we feel comfortable sharing.

We're pretty bummed with Howard Stern's lack of commentary about issues that he would have been much angrier about 12 years ago. When Robin's news reported the prospect of Trump appointing the notoriously anti-Semitic Jeff Sessions to a cabinet position, Stern was silent, and the news continued. We all know what he's really thinking. He definitely shares the same political opinions as his extremely Jewish parents. But on the air, he's been stifling his anger.

On the day after the election, however, Stern theorized that Trump's campaign was a response to NBC, who were unable to satisfy his pay demands for Celebrity Apprentice.

This might be bullshit, since NBC was planning to cancel The Apprentice anyway. But in either case, he was angry at NBC and ran for president as a publicity stunt, treating the entirety of his campaign in the same unfiltered "not here to make friends" attitude that a contestant on Flavor Of Love or Rock of Love would use to win the heart of Flava Flav or Brett Michaels.

The rush of the campaign was his fuel. Defeating HRC was his prize. Stern theorized that he spent the entire 18 months constantly ignoring a voice in his head repeating that he never actually wanted to inherit the responsibilities of a 4-year-term as U.S. President, especially considering he only has, at most, 10 good years left before his age and health make it difficult for him to enjoy life without drooling on himself. South Park's depiction of Mr. Garrison echoed this theory, although with far more blatant attempts at campaign sabotage. Mr. Garrison actually heeded those voices that Trump ignored.

His campaign promises - the wall, lock her up & draining the swamp - will never happen. There is no way in hell this guy won't obtain historically low approval ratings. But since approval is so important to him, it's possible that his extreme instincts won't completely fuck us over?

Dave Chappelle's SNL monologue and Howard Stern's Nov 9th commentary both suggested that we should wait and see what happens before getting upset. After all, Obama is still president. The electoral college hasn't actually appointed Trump with his position just yet. However, we're inclined to disagree that "wait and see" is in our country's best interest. This is not a tough game of chess. We can easily see what's happening 17 steps from now, and it makes a lot more sense to exercise the citizen's right to make any efforts at all that might prevent impending horror.

One PC Liberal opinion that we simply cannot fuck with, however, is the concept of interrupting Thanksgiving dinner if anyone in your family happens to express a political opinion that differs from yours. Or protesting by not attending. Why wait until Thanksgiving for this? Do these people love their families? Maybe we're crazy here, but we love our family unconditionally, regardless of their difference in political opinions. And yes, we've certainly fantasized (on occasion) the catharsis that might derive from confidently owning various family members in political discussions. But regardless of the doom our country is facing, we only have a set number of family gatherings left throughout our lifetimes. And as time passes, some of those people are going to disappear until eventually it's just us, on our own. And yea, we'll regret spoiling those moments. It's not worth it. If you really want to own your racist uncle that badly, maybe visit him tomorrow on Black Friday instead of fucking things up for your entire family and disregarding the investment that your apparently privileged family made in purchasing and preparing dinner for your white dumb ass.

They just got here. We have to go.

MTVZ November 2016

Forgot to post the latest edition of MTVZ. Enjoy this! We removed the original first video from the lineup bc we're fucking burnt on that topic.

Friday, September 30, 2016

MTVZ October edition

Yo, we have been sucking at keeping this website up to date. But there is a new October edition of MTVZ so at least that's cool. We encourage streaming it on chromecast so that it actually feels like a real channel.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

We made a channel called MTVZ

We made a channel called MTVZ. Dunno what that means but I guess it's like a lot of music videos so MTV-something made sense and Z hadn't been used yet. We have been chromecasting it since yesterday and it is sweet.

It's sort of like a magazine? Like we'll post another issue next month or something. If you work at Journeys or some sneaker store you should chromecast this at your store.

Two-Thirds Decade Warp Up


We're only 4 days late this time. Not too bad.

On May 1, 2003 (or somewhere around there), we posted our decade's wrap-up lists for its first third.

On May 1, 2007, we did our belated 2/3's decade list, which encompassed 5.1.03 until 8.31.06.

We never got around to a final third of the 2000's wrap-up. Maybe someday.

On May 30, 2013, we posted our decade wrap-up lists for its first third.

And now it's September 4. Ready to roll. Here it is, buds. Our completely subjective picks for the biggest jams and the hugest losers for the middle chunk of the current decade. During this period, we put a hiatus on our "Ultra Vomit" lists and instead expanded on our annual Hot Mixes. Hot Mix placements have been provided for easy TMI reference.

Best: 05.01.13 .. 08.31.16
20 Janelle Monae f/ Miguel "Primetime" (2013 // #9)
| Youtube |

19 J.Cole f/ TLC "Crooked Smile" (2013 // #24) | Youtube |
18 Ty Dolla Sign f/ Jagged Edge "Straight Up" (2015 // did not place) | Youtube |
17 Miguel "The Valley" (2015 // #8) | Youtube |
16 Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats "Runaway Girls" (2014 // #69) | Youtube |
15 Two Inch Astronaut "Cigarettes Boys and Movies" (2014 // did not place) | Youtube |
14 Surface To Air Missive "Going Out" (2015 // #13)
| Youtube |

13 Trinidad James "All Gold Everything" (2013 // #4)
| Youtube |

12 Alex G "Black Hair" (2014 // #70) | Youtube |
11 Tkay Maidza "U-Huh" (2014 // #2) | Youtube |
10 Earl Sweatshirt f/ RZA "Molasses" (2013 // #11)
| Youtube |

09 Ovlov "Where's My Dini" (2013 // #26) | Youtube |
08 Tinashe f/ Schoolboy Q "2 On" (2014 // #4) | Youtube |
07 Rihanna f/ Drake "Work" (2016 // didn't happen yet)
| Youtube |

06 Real Estate "Crime" (2014 // #7) | Youtube |
05 Lil B "No Black Person Is Ugly" (2014 // #1) | Youtube |
04 Kanye West f/ Kendrick Lamar "No More Parties In LA" (2016 // didn't happen yet) | Youtube |
03 D'Angelo and The Vanguard "The Charade" (2014 // #13)
| Youtube |

02 Warpaint "Love Is to Die" (2014 // #14) | Yotuube |
01 Mariah Carey & Miguel "#Beautiful" (2013 // #1)
| Youtube |

Worst: 05.01.13 .. 08.31.16
20 Omarion f/ Chris Brown & Jhene Aiko "Post To Be" (2014)
| Youtube |

19 twenty one pilots "Car Radio" (2014) | Youtube |
18 Magic! "Rude" (2014) | Youtube |
17 Macklemore x Ryan Lewis "Thrift Shop" (2013) | Youtube |
16 Meghan Trainor "All About That Bass" (2014) | Youtube |
15 Fall Out Boy "Centuries" (2014) | Youtube |
14 Disturbed "The Sound of Silence" (2016) | Youtube |
13 Kongos "Come With Me Now" (2013) | Youtube |
12 Hero & Leander "Kiss Me By The Water Cooler" (2014)
| Youtube |

11 James Arthur "You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You" (2015) | Youtube |
10 Theory of a Deadman "Blow" (2014) | Youtube |
09 Maroon 5 "Animals" (2015) | Youtube |
08 Rod Stewart "Batman Superman Spiderman" (2015)
| Youtube |

07 Cupid Kidz "Forest of Fun" (2013) | Youtube |
06 A Great Big World f/ Christina Aguilera "Say Something" (2013) | Youtube |
05 Lukas Graham "7 Years" (2016) | Youtube |
04 American Authors "Best Day of My Life" (2014) | Youtube |
03 The Chainsmokers "#Selfie" (2014) | Youtube |
02 Lukas Graham "Mama Said" (2015) | Youtube |
01 Charlie Puth f/ Meghan Trainor "Marvin Gaye" (2015)
| Youtube |

Monday, August 15, 2016

Oh Shit We Watched The '99 VMAs

We watched this over a week ago at this point, and since then we got bored with old MTV shit. The only other VMAs we might have on tape is from 2002 and we're not sure where it is at the moment. Despite Paul McCartney's embarrassing cameo alongside Madonna, he did mention one interesting reminder: The 1999 VMAs was MTV's final awards show from the only full decade when the channel would care about music throughout its entirety.

#1 The Death Count

See, the thing about "The Death Count" is that when you're watching these for the first time since the year they premiered, it starts to feel like the tape could potentially be a live broadcast in some parallel dimension. And this specific awards show - for some reason - seems to encapsulate everything that signaled the beginning of pop's modern era. A live event in 2016 with this exact gathering of celebrities might pull in the type of audience size that could rival any recent Super Bowl. So when the dead celebs show up, it almost feels like a dream - or perhaps the opposite, that real life is a dream, and these people aren't actually dead at all.

- David Bowie was in the red carpet "Opening Act" portion, and later he introduced Lauryn Hill's performance. (Pretty sure Chris Rock's introduction was "Alright, this next presenter has a black wife. Give it up for David Bowie!")
- Prince - then known as "The Artist" - introduced TLC, who he claimed was his favorite group. Apparently he was asked to perform "1999" and originally accepted the offer, but declined within the days leading up to the show.
- Adam Yauch accepted an award for "Intergalactic" with the other B-Boys.
- Jam Master Jay performed in part of Kid Rock's medley as part of Run DMC.
- Buddy Hackett was warmly received (which would never happen today) as he presented an award with the 3 central cast members of The Blair Witch Project.
- Tupac's mom, Afeni Shakur, presented an award with Biggy's mom and Will Smith.
- "Left Eye" (again) performed "No Scrubs" with TLC.
- Aaliyah was nominated twice for "Are You That Somebody," but didn't win, and she was never shown as far as we could tell. (It's possible she was interviewed during a portion of the pre-show that we didn't catch on tape.) It would have been pretty cool to see her accept an award, but no dice, although she would go on to accept two VMAs for "Try Again" in 2000.

#2 Highlights

- Lauryn Hill and Jay-Z's performances were both huge stand-outs. (Jay-Z's medley was supposed to be alongside DMX, who was a no show.)

- Ad-Rock's portion of Beastie Boys' acceptance speech for "Intergalactic" surpassed the 2-minute mark as he publicly addressed the sexual assault at Woodstock '99: "I read in the news and heard from my friends all about sexual assaults and the rapes that went down at Woodstock '99 in July, and it made me feel really sad and angry.... We can talk to the promoters and make sure that they're doing something about the safety of all the girls and the women who come to our shows... I think we can talk to the security people to make sure they know and understand about sexual harassment and rape and they know how to handle these situations."

Just seeing that he was coming from a place of pure sincerity, intelligently and concisely speaking off the dome and offering plausible solutions, felt so powerfully inspirational in a way that might not have immediately resonated with many teenagers in the '90s. SPIN's devastating report on Woodstock '99 (from the issue with Kid Rock on the cover) had hit magazine stands at Borders only days prior. So we definitely shared Ad-Rock's sadness and anger, while also partially and secretly bummed that Paul's Boutique-era Beasties weren't using the moment to express something more fun. But it had to be addressed. MTV viewers needed to be confronted with this instead of just forgetting that it had ever happened.

Let's put the gravity of this moment into perspective real quick: The ratings for the VMAs throughout the '90s had never surpassed 10 million - typically meandering around the 5-6 million mark. 7 million in '97. 8 million in '98. And then finally 1999 happened: 11.94 million. (Since then, MTV's live events have only been topped twice: The 2002 VMAs with 11.95 million, and the 2011 VMAs with 12.4 million.) It took serious courage for this guy - typically known as the partiest party boy among the Beasties - to speak his mind to nearly 12 million people, undoubtedly disappointing many misogynist mook-metal bros in the process, during the same ceremony when Fred Durst made an ass out of himself for congratulating Heather Locklear's "breasts" prior to presenting their award.

#3 Other notes

- The jump in production value between 1997 and 1999 seems shockingly and unexpectedly huge, as if MTV truly was anticipating the biggest live event they've ever hosted. Within that moment, September of 1999, it could have easily been dubbed "The TRL Awards," since TRL was unquestionably the most exciting live music-related TV series of the moment and was constantly dropping reminders about VMAs night falling on 9.9.99.

- We know we're supposed to think Diana Ross jiggling Lil Kim's boobie was the night's most memorable moment, but when the time finally arrived, we sorta knew what was going to happen and it felt pretty anticlimactic.

- Chris Rock was equally on-point as he was 2 years prior. "Lotta white boys rappin', My GOD." (The Wayans Brothers would host the following year and may have been the worst VMAs hosts in the show's history.)

- Nine Inch Nails narrowly missed out on the night's highlights only due to their song selection. We recall being very excited upon hearing "The Fragile" at the VMAs, mostly because it was our first time hearing anything from The Fragile besides "The Day The World Went Away" which was just a disappointingly horribly shitty lead single. In retrospect, MTV was clearly hoping for a 4-minute blast of insane catharsis along the lines of the "March Of The Pigs" video (or at least a moment of controversy on par with "The Beautiful People" in '97 or "The Dope Show" in '98). A tortured "Hurt"-style ballad like "The Fragile" seems like such a boring and inappropriate choice. Even a mid-tempo blast like "Into The Void" would have been cool. Trent, you're killin' us.

- This was the first year that "Best Pop Video" was a category which presumably replaced "Best Alternative Video."

- And the winner is "Some guy named Laurence Hill." That's really what he said. Throughout the history of awards shows, it might be hard to place a more embarrassing reading of a major award winning moment from anyone - from fucking Paul McCartney of all people, and for a "Video Of The Year" moment that was seen by nearly 12 million. He was clearly trying to have a fun time, and in a typical McCartney moment of arrogance, he ended up forgetting that the moment wasn't entirely all about him. It's possible that this moment lead MTV to encourage stricter policies to prevent deviation from the words on the teleprompter, leading to the un-fun current manifestation of the VMAs.

- Tom Green is so incredibly "of the era," and we fucking love him to death. His contributions to the show included pre-taped segments where he bothered people on the street about the Viewers Choice Awards while donned in snorkeling gear.

- Every performance besides TLC, Fatboy Slim and NIN were medleys.

- Chris Rock introduced Britney and *NSync's performance with the question "Are you ready for some lipsyncin'!?!? I said, Are you read for some real lip-syncin'???" Besides the Britney/*NSync medley, Backstreet and TLC also performed with fake headsets. As much as we love TLC, the lip-sync portions of the night were definitely low points.

- Since the advent of Youtube, videos like "Praise You" became a dime a dozen. But it was somewhat infamous at the time, not only beating hugely superior videos like "Freak On A Leash" and "Gimme Some More" for the Breakthrough Video award, but also being granted a 2-minute performance slot with Spike Jonze and the "Torrance" dancers putting on an abbreviated version of their routine while Fatboy Slim pretended to play piano behind them. And just for some context, Being John Malkovich (also directed by Jonze) premiered about 7 weeks later. (Chris Rock responded, "Fatboy Slim? Looked a lot more like Whiteboy Retarded!")

- As far as the performers who actually sang, Ricky Martin was notably awful.

- Kid Rock's rap-rock medley was crashed by Run DMC and Aerosmith. Kinda boring.

- We didn't notice this so much at the time, but Eminem - possibly as a nervous tic - frequently utters "y'know what'm sayin'." He said it once during his acceptance speech, and again during a post-show interview. Every word that came out of his mouth was so grossly white and douchey. How the fuck did anyone ever take this dude seriously? P.S. His performance was also crashed by guests - Dre and Snoop - who closed Eminem's medley by performing the night's final song, "Nuthin' But A G Thing," in its entirety. (SPIN had named the song #1 on their "Top 20 Singles of the '90s" about a month prior.)

Thursday, August 4, 2016

We Watched The '97 VMAs

We still haven't seen any MTV Classic, although we DVR'd the stuff that looked most interesting over the weekend. We'll get around to it eventually.

We found a fun-looking tape labelled "1997 Video Music Awards / Radiohead Live at the 10 Spot / 120 Minutes with Marcy Playground." And we were happy to discover that nearly all of the VMAs from September 4, 1997 was included with red carpet intro, post-awards outro, and most of the commercial breaks.

#1 The Death Count: 1997 didn't present as many dead celebrity appearances; instead, there seemed to be countless tributes to people who had died only recently.

- Princess Diana died 5 days prior on August 31st. Madonna spoke about her for at least 2 minutes. The Spice Girls dedicated their performance of "Say You'll Be There" to her memory, plus Sporty Spice mentioned it during their VMA acceptance speech. There were at least two other tributes - I know Elton John spoke at one point, but I don't remember if he mentioned Diana. LL Cool J may have mentioned it also.
- "Mo' Money Mo' Problems" is one of our all-time favorite songs (#38 in fact), which makes it all the more upsetting that we've been forced to place the "Mo Money Mo Problems"/"I'll Be Missing You" medley as our 2nd-worst performance of the night. MTV retrospectives have frequently cited the surprise guest appearance from Sting among their most cherished live moments. At the time, we found it kind of confusing and weak, and 19 years of hindsight has not changed this particular POV. The strongest and most heartfelt tribute to Biggy came later as "I'll Be Missing You" and "Hypnotize" picked up awards providing Biggy's mom a chance to say "Big ups to Brooklyn" and speak publicly for the first time.
- Sublime won "Best Alternative Video" for "What I Got" which didn't result in a tribute as extensive as Diana or Biggy. In fact, the drunken acceptance speech from the bassist (Eric?), the drummer (Bud?), their DJ (Miguel?) and Brad Nowell's wife (or at least we think it was his wife) was very lighthearted and jokey. Towards the end, the bass player finally said "this is all for Bradley Nowell," followed by the drummer saying something to the affect of "a lot of people have died recently for really stupid reasons, and it needs to stop."
- Puffy and LL Cool J both briefly mentioned Gianni Versace who passed away over the summer.
- Actual death count: Left Eye performed with Lil' Kim, and ODB presented an award with Wu-Tang. Not nearly as intense as 2 years prior.

#2 Highlights

- Marilyn Manson was clearly the most exciting moment of the night, closing the ceremony with "The Beautiful People." This also provided Chris Rock with arguably his best response of the night: "Run to church! Get your ass into church! Or you're going to hell."
- Wu-Tang Clan was brought out to the podium not to accept an award, but to introduce the "Ladies Night" performance from Lil Kim, Left Eye, Missy Elliott and Da Brat. In fact, Wu-Tang weren't nominated for any awards. So then, exactly how did Ol' Dirty Bastard obtain the moonman that he's waving around during their monologue?

#3 Other notes

- Chris Rock is probably the greatest VMAs host that's ever happened. Even when the stuff he said seemed wrong or inappropriate or incorrect or stupid, he still delivers every joke with that classic Chris Rock charisma.

- LL Cool J was the first hiphop artist to receive the Video Vanguard Award. And Mark Romanek was the first non-singer or non-band to receive the award for video direction. We always appreciated Romanek's speech about how the upper tier - the top 2% of the best music videos - may have provided the world with some of the best film making of the '80s and '90s.

- During the pre-show, Foo Fighters played "Monkey Wrench" and "Everlong." We're not sure if it made it onto live TV or not, but afterwards Pat Smear announced that it was his last show in Foo Fighters. He wouldn't play with them again until 2011.

- Bruce Springsteen played "One Headlight" with The Wallflowers, but as we watched the performance, their drummer grabbed our attention. No way, is that Matt Chamberlain? Wikipedia confirms that he played in Wallflowers throughout 1996-1997 before performing on Fiona Apple's When The Pawn which is how we typically associate his drumming style.

- Pretty sure Hanson was present but won nothing. They were nom'd for Best New Artist, which went to Fiona Apple, whose acceptance speech was clearly the greatest of the night and possibly the entire decade.

- Best Director wasn't presented on TV, but somehow Beck won the award despite being up against Jonathan Glazer, Hype Williams, Mark Romanek and a Dayton/Ferris collab with none other than Joel Schumacher.

- Prodigy may have been our least favorite live performance of the night. We love "Breathe," but the vocal performances were just straight garbage and nothing that deserved to be on the VMAs.

- Jewel was supposed to sing "Foolish Games" but instead made a last minute change without telling anyone and played "Angel Standing By."

- This may have been near the close of the era when presenters and monologues weren't treated as seriously as in subsequent years. Busta Rhymes, Adam Sandler, Fiona Apple, Chris Tucker, David Arquette and John Popper all treated the teleprompter as if there were a huge "optional" sign pointing in its direction. Busta, Sandler and Fiona all seemed especially stoned while Arquette may have been coked out of his mind.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

We Watched The '95 VMAs

MTV Classic is set to launch tomorrow at 12 noon. Its schedule for the next two weeks has already been posted on the VH1 Classic website and is also accessible by hitting the "guide" button on our remote control.

Long story short: Their programming choices are huge bummers to us, so we decided to finally start digging through our boxes of VHS's in hopes of creating our own "classic MTV" channel through the magic of plugging a VCR into a TV and inserting tapes.

This one tape was only labelled "Live Unplugged," so we inserted it, and the first thing we see is The Notorious B.I.G. and Salt N Pepa on the red carpet during the 1995 VMAs pre-show ceremony. Seemed like an ok tape to leave on while cleaning the house and getting other things done.

Here's our thoughts on the '95 VMAS:

#1 The Death Count.

For some reason, even though it was 21 years ago, it still didn't feel we were watching something from all that far into the past, despite the strikingly large number of famous dead people.

- Biggy Smalls was probably the strangest one, the first moment that truly shouted "there's no way this could happen today."
- Michael Jackson performed a 15 minute opening set. It was fucking amazing, but if memory serves correctly, the MTV News broadcast from that weekend would smear his performance for being too long and including both lipsynch and pre-recorded audience noise. I remember Billy Corgan specifically saying he didn't understand how Michael received a standing ovation.
- Patrick Swayze presented an award with Wesley Snipes.
- Left Eye performed in TLC and assisted with at least 3 very energetic and super adorable acceptance speeches.
- Whitney Houston presented Video of the Year and brought Bobby Brown with her unexpectedly.
- Jeff Buckley's "Last Goodbye" was strangely nom'd for "Best New Artist" although it's unclear whether he was present.
- Same goes for Stone Temple Pilots' "Interstate Love Song" - nominated at least twice, but it's unclear whether the band or Weiland himself were present for the ceremony.

#2 Highlights

- Weezer won for "Buddy Holly," but neither Rivers Cuomo nor Pat Wilson were present, leaving Matt Sharp to carry the acceptance speech in an Eastern European accent and looking exactly the same as on the cover of Return Of The Rentals. "Thank you for having us in your country."
- Biggy Smalls (and Bill Bellemy) were the "best dance" presenters for Michael and Janet. It's possible Biggy was over his proximity awkwardness to Michael Jackson by that point since "This Time Around" had already been recorded.

#3 Other notes

- Besides Michael Jackson, none of the performances stood out as exceptional, although even stranger was that none of them stood out as awkward or embarrassingly awful, which would NEVER happen in the 2010s.

- "Waterfalls" had only been on MTV since early June and was a very last-minute inclusion to the nominee pool. The VMAs single-handedly propelled it from "summer song" to "all-time classic" over the course of one night.

- It's a bummer that Flea and Dave Navarro - who had performed earlier in the evening - were not invited to play bass and guitar for Alanis Morissette's "You Oughta Know." Taylor Hawkins is def on drums though. Alanis was the breakthrough performance of the night. Similar to "Waterfalls," the song had only been on MTV for about six weeks, but it had gotten so popular so fast. For anyone who hadn't yet heard of Alanis, this was her true moment of arrival.

- During the first break, two of the first 3 commercials featured Shaq.

- Dennis Rodman kinda low-key brought a beer with him up to the podium when presenting his award. Yelled a bunch of stuff about being the baddest dude in the room. Christopher Walken - to his left - just laughed and looked like he was about to respond but instead just said "let's see the nominees."

- Tom Petty, Seal, Hootie and the Blowfish and Dr. Dre all won awards that were up against videos that weren't nearly as popular, with MTV seeming to stack the odds in favor of whoever was definitely going to be present. For example, Tom Petty's "You Don't Know How It Feels" won Best Male against a random Chris Issak song that no one remembers, Elton John, and "Lucas With The Lid Off." Did Jeff Buckley or Portishead stand any chance to win Best New Artist against Hootie? Were PJ Harvey, Public Enemy or Rappin' 4-Tay even present?

- Dennis Miller as host was probably a low-point. Not sure why he was asked to return in '96, although the options of the moment weren't especially great.

- During the post-awards wrap-up, MTV drunkenly tried way too hard to push for memorable live TV moments. The thing with Courtney Love interrupting Kurt Loder's interview with Madonna was kinda hugely blown out of proportion and appeared on way too many of those "best MTV moments" retrospectives in subsequent years. Kurt Loder also awkwardly tried to get Flea and Anthony Kiedis to make out while they were hugging each other.

- Not really relevant at all, but the last episode of The State aired on MTV about 2 weeks prior.

That's all we can remember.

One final note: We only recently noticed a strange trend throughout the mid-'90s when the VMAs seemed to encourage performances of non-singles from rock acts, possibly after realizing they were wrong for trying to force Nirvana to play "Smells Like Teen Spirit" in 1992. Pearl Jam performed "Animal" in 1993, a year when they did not release any videos. A year later, Green Day chose "Aramtage Shanks" while STP played "Pretty Penny" in a setting that was similar to their Unplugged episode. 1995 was the first year when this idea seemed to backfire, when R.E.M. chose "The Wake-Up Bomb," a plodding non-single that wouldn't be released on CD until a year later. Green Day's remote broadcast from Sweden showed them playing "Stuck With Me," which was probably just the song that happened to arrive in their set list at the time of their time slot. A year later, Alanis sang "Your House," the unlisted a capella bonus track from Jagged Little Pill, except this time it was with an acoustic guitar player. The same night, Hootie performed "Sad Caper." In '97, Jewel performed "Angel Standing By." The trend continued until 1999, when Nine Inch Nails chose the title track from The Fragile, which was actually a pretty cool final deep VMA choice.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Gotta Say It Was A GOOD LIFE Day: The Hot Q&A

The Good Life know their rock.

And by "rock," we mean mainstream radio rock.

The word "we" refers to my band Speedy Ortiz, who shared a tour with The Good Life for three weeks during May and June 2016.

And when we say "know," we really mean that we suspected some unconfirmed IRL acquaintance.

Why did we suspect this? Let's back up for a sec.

The Good Life are the band responsible for 2004's Album Of The Year, one of the most popular records released during the breakthrough era of Omaha's Saddle Creek label. After two more records in 2007, they took a 7-year hiatus before returning for one of their best and most collaborative LPs, 2015's Everybody's Coming Down.

The four musicians within The Good Life spent a large chunk of the 2000s among the figureheads of the indie-rock spectrum, heavily associated with the artists who recorded at Omaha's ARC Studios and performing in bands like Cursive, Azure Ray, Bright Eyes, Neva Dinova and She & Him among dozens of others.

By May 31st in Portland, we had confirmed that vocalist & guitarist Tim Kasher had played high school shows in the early '90s with none other than 311. By that time, 311 were considered the hottest new band in Omaha.

Within a day of this discovery, I heard secondhand that bassist Stefanie Drootin-Senseney went to high school in Los Angeles with all five members of Incubus. Apparently, they had all the same members back then, and they were still called Incubus.

However, none of them had met Jimmy Eat World, which we found very disappointing.

But this did spark our curiosity: Had they crossed with any other 1995-2002 era Buzz Clip bands throughout their path to The Good Life?

On the last night of our travels in Norman, Oklahoma, I grabbed a table at a bar called The Garage with Tim, Stef, guitarist Ryan Fox (who days prior had revealed himself to be an excellent dancer and karaoke performer) and drummer Roger L. Lewis (who might have worn a different classic rock t-shirt for every show on the tour) for some necessary Q&A. We needed to get to the bottom of some things. We began with a few softball questions and worked our way up from there.

TMK: What was the best bar mitzvah you ever attended?
Stef: Oh my god, my own! It was a b'nai mitzvah with my brother.
Tim: Stef has a bar mitzvah she's going to this weekend, right? So that could be the best one possibly!
Stef: It might be potentially the best one. We'll see.
Tim: I've never been to one, but I'm going to my nephew's this fall.
Roger: That sounds awesome.
Tim: It's a required family event.
Roger: Where at?
Tim: San Francisco.

TMK: Have any of your bands played at a bar mitzvah or bat mitzvah?
Tim: Have you Stef?
Stef: My brother played "Born To Be Wild" at our b'nai mitzvah.
TMK: I'll have to look up how to spell that.
Stef: B'nai? I don't know either. I thought it was a b with a thing over the n.
Tim: B-E-apostraphe-N-A-H maybe?
S: B-apostrophe-N-E-H?

TMK: We have a lot of "have you ever met this band?" questions. Do any of you know the band Collective Soul or anyone in the band Collective Soul? Have you ever met them?
Tim: No, anybody?
Roger: No.

TMK: Has anyone ever met anyone from the band Live?
Stef: No.
Roger: You know what, we've been talking about Live a lot on this tour.
TMK: Tell me about it!
Roger: Who bought Mental Jewelry?
Tim: "Operation...."
Roger: Or was that Queensryche?
TMK: "Operation Spirit?"
Tim: Yeah, Roger put on the video of "Operation Spirit" and was like "hey, do you remember this old-ass Live song? And I probably hadn't heard it in over 25 years. It was like "oh my god, yeah!" And the bass player is just freaking out the entire time.
TMK: You know, they did have a sick bass player.
Stef: Didn't they have good dance moves?
Roger: Yeah. In the videos, those guys were super skinny.
TMK: A lot of these questions regard bands that we don't take very seriously.
Roger: Hey, I own that record!
TMK: I bought Throwing Copper when I was 15.
Roger: And Tim told me he bought Mental Jewelry.
Tim: Who told what to who?
Roger: You told me that at the hotel.
Tim: Fox said that.
Ryan: No fucking way dude.
Tim: Was it you, Stef?
Stef: No, I've never had anything.
Tim: I've never purchased a Live thing.
Roger: Ok, but you said you used to watch the videos.
Tim: Well yeah, when they were on MTV.
TMK: They used to play them on 120 Minutes.
Roger: It was weird how they got thrown on the alterna-train. [MTV] would say "Here's a Chapterhouse song" and then "here's a Live song." But then when Throwing Copper came out, I think they had to do away with the alternative tag.

TMK: Do any of you know anyone from Dave Matthews Band?
Stef: My other band Big Harp's old manager used to be Dave Matthews' tour manager.
TMK: That counts.
Stef: Yeah, that counts.
Tim: A woman I used to live with - she's from Charlottesville, Virginia, and that's where he started. So she knew [Dave Matthews] back in the day when he just played coffee houses. Coffee house bro. But then he got really big. Kinda like the thing with 311.

TMK: Well that leads to my next question: Do any of you know 311?
Everyone: Yeah!
Tim: Hell yeah! We haven't stayed in touch though.
TMK: That's too bad.
Tim: Yeah it is.
Roger: Do you think like, if you're walking around LA and you saw.... [was his name] Nick?
Tim: Nick Hexum?
Roger: Nick Hexum. Would he recognize you, or remember you if you were like "hey, I'm Tim Kasher."
Tim: I think there would be a zero-percent chance of him recognizing me. I think there would be about an 80% chance of me recognizing him. Depending on what he was wearing.
Roger: Was S.A. Martinez in the band when you played shows with them back in the day?
Tim: Oh yeah.
Roger: And you knew him?
Tim: Yeah.
Roger: I think he would recognize you.
Tim: Hmm, I think Mahoney would be kind enough to be like "Oh yeah!"
TMK: Which one is that?
Tim: He's the guitar player. He gives me the impression that he would be the type to be like "Ohhh yeah! You guys used to do that Saddle Creek stuff!" I think Nick Hexum would act like he doesn't know there's any other bands from Omaha.
Roger: So Mahoney - Was he like the long hair guy with all the tattoos who looked kinda cool?
Tim: Yeah.
Roger: Oh yeah, I like him.
TMK: What was the name of your band when you played with 311?
Tim: March Hares.
TMK: Do you remember what year it was?
Tim: Uh yeah, it woulda been... [pause] like, 1990.

TMK: Do any of you know Incubus?
[everyone applauds]
Stef: Yeah totally!
TMK: I heard about that!
Stef: Yeah, I went to high school with them. And Jose - the drummer - was part of the surf/skate crowd that I hung out with. He was a friend.
TMK: You actually hung out with them?
Stef: With Jose, yeah. And I went up to their house after they'd play - at the mansion that they all lived in and recorded at.
TMK: They lived in a mansion?
Stef: At the time, they all lived together in a mansion. Brandon and Jose were very nice people.
Roger: Was it [the mansion] from the album cover where they recorded [their first] record? I always liked that album cover.
TMK: I always wondered what was up with the dude on the cover of S.C.I.E.N.C.E.
Stef: (after finding the photo) I've never seen that guy before. I don't think he's a real human.
TMK: He must be fictional.
Ryan (to me): Are you a fan?
TMK: I like it. I think they're good. I think they're better than the other bands we just discussed by a long shot.
Stef: I just thought of something else. There was a family night at the place where my daughter's going to pre-school. I looked over and the old bass player Alex was there. So our kids go to the same pre-school.
TMK: They go to the same school?
Stef: They did for like a year.

TMK: Do you know Tracy Bonham?
Roger: Who's that?
Tim: Oh she's [starts singing random words to the tune of "Mother Mother"] "My name is, I mean this, I met her, I'll fix it up, and I know where youuuu aaare!"
TMK: Yeah, the song was called "Mother Mother." This was Sadie's question.
Roger: "Mother Mother?" That wasn't who did the "Bitch" song?
TMK: That was Meredith Brooks.

TMK: Why don't any of you know Jimmy Eat World? That was also Sadie's question.
Stef: I mean, I've definitely hung out with them but I don't know if we ever talked. In like '97 maybe?
TMK: You guys used to party?
Stef: No, not at all. I played a show in Phoenix once. Were they from Phoenix?
TMK: They're from Arizona.
Stef: That makes sense, because they were hanging out at the show.

TMK: Who makes the best bloody mary in Omaha?
Tim: Mindy Lahey. (To Roger) You disagree?
Roger: I think I make a pretty gooddamn good bloody mary.
Tim: Well, she wins awards.
Roger: She's good, but I'll make you one the next time you're in town. And you'll be blown a-way.
Tim: Every bartender makes a pretty good one, right?
Roger: I make a good one. I put some stuff into it.
TMK: Is that who makes the famous bloody mary in Ohama?
Roger: Mindy makes an awesome bloody mary.
Stef: Where's the famous one?
TMK: I mean, it's famous to me. At the bar near Saddle Creek.
Tim: That could have been Mindy.

TMK: How did you start playing together?
Tim: I did the first Good Life record, and then I started playing with Roger because we needed a touring band. We picked up Ryan for the second Good Life touring band - 2.0 - and then we did another record, Black Out, and Stef joined up with us after that.
Roger: She supported Black Out, right?
Stef: I started with the Lovers Need Lawyers EP.
Tim: Oh yeah.
Stef: And then Album Of The Year.
TMK: So it's been a while.
Roger: Late 2002, I think. Or early 2003.
TMK: That's almost 15 years!
Tim: A lot of turnover initially, but yeah.

TMK: Darl has question for you guys. He submits this question for every interview I do. His question is "Why?"
Tim: Because it feels good.
Ryan: If it's possible, why not?
Roger: [pause] It's cool?
TMK (to Stef): Do you have an answer to "Why?"
Stef: I don't. Why don't I?

TMK: Darl also asked "what was it like when you met Bill Clinton?" [Note: They've never met Bill Clinton.]
Stef: It was sooo cool! He was so nice!
Roger: You hung out with Bill Clinton?
Ryan: We hung out on our birthday. And we were having a saxophone jam off. There were all these waterslides and the saxophone party was pretty nice. He was ok. A little old.
Tim: Ryan Fox and I share a birthday with Bill Clinton.
TMK: The two of you guys are born on the same day?
Tim: Yeah, me and Ryan. And Bill. August 19th.
Stef: Is that the night you and Chelsea started dating?
Ryan: Shhh!
Tim: It would be cool if we were famous enough that Bill Clinton would look up famous birthdays, and he would see Tim Kasher and Ryan Fox and like, "hey, I need to listen to that Good Life." We should start putting it online more often, and onto Wikipedia. If there's an August 19th birthday page, it should say "Bill Clinton, John Stamos, Ryan Fox and Tim Kasher."
TMK: That's huge that you guys have the same birthday.
Stef: Mine's 4 days after theirs.
TMK: Wow. After the 21st you get different star signs.
Stef: I'm on the Leo cusp.
Tim: You got your astrology down.
TMK: No, I don't know anything. (to Roger) When's your birthday?
Roger: May 6th.
TMK: Happy birthday! It wasn't too long ago.
Roger: Yeah, a few weeks ago. We're all together now. It's a party.

TMK: Do you guys like the Moby Grape song "Omaha?"
Roger: I like the Counting Crows song "Omaha."
TMK: There's a Counting Crows song?
Roger: "Somewhere in the middle of America..."
Tim: I haven't heard this Moby Grape song.
TMK: It's old. It's from the '60s.
Ryan: Do you like it?
TMK: It's ok.
Ryan: We'll check it out.

TMK: How would you rank the dancing skills of the 4 Good Life band members?
Stef: Ryan Fox is #1.
Tim: Fox is #1 for sure. And then Roger would be #2.
Roger: Yes!
Tim: And then Stef, and then me.

TMK: Ryan Fox, what's going on with your label?
Ryan: Sometimes I put out tapes.
TMK: What's the label called?
Ryan: It's called Majestic Litter. Facebook wouldn't let me make a label page for it because the word "clit" is buried in "majestic litter." So I think the facebook handle is like "magnetic ladder" or something.
Tim: I never knew that. Ridiculous.
Ryan: It's like, "Some word is not allowed." And I'm like "ok, well I didn't wanna do this anyway."
TMK: Buncha jerks, those facebooks.
Ryan: Yeah, but we got the Big Harp tape - Stef's band - and The Good Life tape and a few other things.

TMK: I heard [Ryan's band] Our Fox. Is that also on the label?
Ryan: That's true.
TMK: When is that happening?
Ryan: I've put out one tape, and I'm gonna do some more recording this year.
TMK: When's that coming out?
Ryan: Not sure. It's gotta get recorded.

TMK: Roger, how many classic rock shirts do you own?
Roger: 30?
TMK: What's your favorite one?
Roger: Led Zeppelin: Hammer of the Gods, We Are Your Overlords. It's so dark and evil and radical. It's a good one.
TMK: What's your second favorite?
Roger: [pause] Oh I don't know. I have this really cool Earth Wind and Fire one.

TMK: Stef, you play in She & Him?
Stef: I played in She & Him.
TMK: You used to.
Stef: Yeah.
TMK: When M. Ward drives the tour van, does he ever play any metal?
Stef: He doesn't play metal, but also they do a bus tour. He's not a driver guy.
TMK: I know, I figured that. I was being jokey.
Stef: No, never metal. More like older music.
TMK: Older music? No metal? No Pantera?
Stef: Never heard any Pantera.

TMK: Does Zooey Deschanel listen to Pantera?
Stef: No, she also likes the old classics.
Roger: When you say classics, do you mean rock and roll classics? Is it all like Paul Simon and Carly Simon?
Stef: We don't listen to that much music.
Tim: Are they into music?
Stef: They do like music and they're actually both pretty knowledgeable about music history.
Roger: Even Zooey?
Stef: Zooey especially!
Roger: What's like her favorite band?
Stef: I don't know what her favorite band is.
Roger: Was she ever like, "I'm way into this, you should check this out!"
Stef: She never said anything like that.
Ryan: I remember when we were recording at ARC, we were in the B-room and she was in the A-room, and it was the first time I had ever seen Greek yogurt. And it was like "whoa, she fancy."
Stef: It was all healthy food on that tour.
TMK: So you were touring through Omaha and you recorded there?
Stef: They did. That's where I met her. I knew Matt [Ward] before, and I met her then and I think that might be partially how I ended up playing with them. Probably from them seeing me there.
TMK: So no metal?
Stef: No metal.
TMK: Anything that's off the wall for either of them?
Stef: I don't think so. But they could, easily.
TMK: What's your favorite New Girl episode?
Stef: I've never seen one.
TMK: I've never seen it either.

TMK: Ryan, when you play Starfox, does Slippy do the barrel roll?
Ryan: Probably. Is that Sega?
TMK: I think it's Nintendo 64.
Ryan: I've never played that game, but I want to though.

TMK: What are your karaoke go-to's? Do you have a karaoke arsenal?
Roger: I used to like "Round and Round" by Ratt.
TMK: That's a really good one! We played that in my cover band.
Tim: For a while I was doing "Movin' Out."
TMK: Billy Joel?
Tim: Yeah.
Ryan: Sometimes The Doors, "Light My Fire" because the keyboard solo gives me time to dance. But also "Bust A Move" by Young MC.
Stef: I don't usually do karaoke, but we did "Eternal Flame" recently.
TMK: And it was beautiful.
Stef: It felt like we really nailed it. I don't remember doing it at all.
TMK: What other songs have you done?
Stef: Guns N' Roses "Sweet Child O' Mine."

TMK: Do you guys play in any cover bands?
Roger: Yes, I do actually. I play in a country cover band. It's like classic songs and classic songwriters, and it's really fun. We've played 2 shows.
Ryan: What's it called?
Roger: It's called Dolores Diaz and The Standby Club.
TMK: Right on.
Roger: Yeah, a lot of cool motherfuckers in it.
TMK: Who's in it?
Roger: Matt Maginn [from Cursive], Dan McCarthy, Conor Oberst [from Bright Eyes], Corina [pauses] Escamilla, Miwi La Lupa, [pauses] who are we missing, Phil Schaffart...
TMK: Isn't Mike Mogis in it?
Roger: Oh, Mike Mogis [from Monsters of Folk & Bright Eyes], Ben Brodin and...
TMK: Wow, it's a big fuckin' band.
Roger: And I think that's everyone. Is that 9 people? I think that's everyone.

TMK: Has Cursive ever played at a bar mitzvah? You basically already answered that question.
Tim: Well we've done private party events before, and it's awful. You feel like a real jerk, because you realize that you did it for money, and nobody really cares who's paying attention to what you're doing.
TMK: Any cool festivals in Cursive?
Tim: Yeah, we've done cool festivals.
TMK: What was your favorite one?
Tim: Coney Island used to do that Siren fest.
TMK: Brookyln?
Tim: Yeah, they don't do that anymore.
TMK: Who was the headliner?
Tim: One time I think Spoon was the headliner.

TMK: Sadie had questions about her Twitter. She wanted to know if you liked any of her tweets about Cursive. She's tweeted about Cursive 6 or 7 times.
Tim: Oh really? I probably have. The funny thing about Twitter is the feed goes by so fast that you don't see most of the stuff. You open it up, and you go to the top and whatever the last 500 things are that people said you never see. I'm gonna have to stalk her twitter page and see.
TMK: A lot of people do.
Tim: And I'll "like" all the Cursive ones.

TMK: How's playing bass? How's that goin?
Stef: I'm pretty into it. I'm getting more interested in drums lately.
Roger: Drums are fun!
Ryan: I like drums. We all like drums.
Roger: I'm trying to talk Smooth into getting a flange pedal. What are your feelings on flange?
TMK: Which one is flange? It depends on the song. It's all in context.
Tim: There's sweet flange on Lenny Kravitz's "Are You Gonna Go My Way."
TMK: That's a pretty classic flange.
Roger: There's one dude we hate but he uses flange well - Ted Nugent. The bass has all that flange on it and it's radical.
TMK: He's a douche though.
Roger: He's a jerk. I hate him.

TMK: Any final thoughts? On The 'Nuge or any other topics?
Roger: I'm excited about Game 6 tomorrow night.
TMK: By the time this gets posted, that might have already happened.
Roger: Well I'm excited about the eventual world champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
Stef: Yeah!
TMK: Who's the famous guy they got again?
Stef: Lebron James.
Roger: Kyrie Urbing, he's no chump. He's cool. I have to go play a show now. [Roger performed double duty drumming in The Good Life and opening in Oquoa for 6 of the shows on our tour, including the one on this night.]

TMK: Well guys, thanks so much! This was really fun.
Everyone: Thanks!